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Advice needed before returning to finish Vidanta deal tomorrow

Crocoguy

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Hello folks! Just discovering this forum today and looks like y'all are exactly who I need to ask. Because of a unique situation with my only debit card, I got to walk away from a deal after I was offered a ton of stuff without having to sign. They're expecting me back tomorrow, so I'm doing as much research as I can to make a final decision. Wall of text below, but for context: I'm 25 and single but have a family of 3 (mom, dad, sister) that absolutely vacation every year. Thank you in advance for any and all assistance! Also, I have 0 experience with timeshares and this sector in general, so I'm flying very blind.

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I'm on vacation in Mexico at one of the Grand Mayans and was offered what seems like a unique and very good deal for a membership to Vidanta's group, which is effectively a timeshare though they hate calling it that. I got away with not having to sign anything today, but they're expecting me to return tomorrow and I'd like some help figuring out if this is a good deal. I'm looking for general evaluation of what i've been offered and also questions for me to ask them when I go back tomorrow, which I have to do either way. Thank you so much in advance for any and all help!

What's being offered:

-2 regular weeks of the Grand Mayan level of room + 1 park week, which I can use either at their soon-to-open cirque de solei park or at any of their grand mayan level or lower resorts for a week's stay

-No membership or maintenance fees

-Only a usage fee for when booking.
-An annual golf membership for free, which is supposedly a 12,000 value (So why would you offer it for free without me asking?)

-An annual spa and gym membership (each also apparently 10k value and I didn't even bring up)

-Ambassador program (apparently something you also usually have to pay for but I didn't ask) - a program that lets you recruit people to stay at a Vidanta resort for a good price (like 250 USD for 7 days, which is the groupon deal I took to get here in the first place) and get $300 cash from each of my weeks they use + a commission of the membership they end up making

-At the end of my 10 years, I can use 65% of my initial investment towards turning my rental into a permanent residence or I can get 65% of my initial investment

-Ability to exchange these weeks on SFX, which values a week at Mayan palace as 2 weeks at most of their other resorts

-Ability to give a week to Vidanta to sell themselves, of which I'll get 50% of the profit

-This membership would last for 10 years as the first visit trial program. At the end of those 10 years, I can pay something like 1,650 to renew for another 10 years, where it usually would be similar to full price.

-A refund of 10x usage fee if I request a date/location at a vidanta property and they don't have it available.

Cost:

-A total cost of something like 8000 USD.

- The initial deposit is $2,000, of which I can pay $300 now and do the rest over the next 90 days with 0 interest and after that I can do a payment plan with 9% APR

-$89/month to finish paying the total cost

This cost would last for 10 years as the first visit trial program. At the end of those 10 years, I can pay 1,650 to renew for another 10 years under the same plan.

Their pitch boiled down:

They aren't a timeshare because they don't do any hotel sales. They don't sell rooms like a regular hotel and all of their units are sold through this membership-style program or through exchanges. Because of this A) SFX values a Vidanta week as 2 weeks and B) they always have rooms available for members. They also said this is why I'll never receive maintenance or other annual fees besides the initial investment I agreed to pay. They're also pitching that the value of this deal will only increase as their company gains more money (which, admittedly, it does seem like Vidanta is only going to grow).

Why this was sweetened for me:

From the jump, I explained that I'm a student on a vacation I can already barely afford (I definitely convinced them I have less than I actually do, which made them desperate from the start) and then I had the added complication of having only one credit/debit card and it was lost and a new one wasn't sent until after I left for Mexico. So getting me to sign up and pay even if I was 100% ready and willing was a pain in the ass I clearly wasn't interested in, so they kept on adding to it as I kept sounding like I wasn't going to do it.

Why I'm particularly interested:

I will be traveling at least once a year in Central and South America for an absolute minimum of 1 week at a time. I'm getting more and more remote/freelance work and intend to spend more time here. Plus, this seems like a particularly good deal even by their standards.

And.. I think that's everything. Sorry it's so long and thank you again for any and all help! I'm really at a loss here, as this seems like a genuinely sweet deal.
 

Eric B

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Think long and hard before you sign anything, particularly before you have a steady income. This type of deal will be available every time you go down there, so there really is no urgency to buy this year, regardless of anything they tell you. There's quite a lot of good info available here to learn about using timeshares, which includes Vidanta, before you invest in any.

Don't get me wrong, I love Vidanta and own there at a higher tier than you're considering, but I'm at a point in my life where I can afford it. Learn how timeshares work in general and research which one would be good to start out with and try buying retail rather than from the developer. You can find some older Vidanta contracts periodically on eBay or in the sales board here on that have better terms than the one you've been offered. There are also other, less expensive timeshares that you could use to travel in Central and South America.
 

byeloe

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try buying retail rather than from the developer.
I believe that he meant "resale"

I totally agree, research other options before jumping in
 

Iggyearl

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Because of a unique situation with my only debit card,
I'm 25 and single but have a family of 3
I'm sorry, but you are not a prospect for a timeshare at this moment. You are obviously thinking of financing a luxury purchase. You are not the only person who gets great deals at Vidanta. Everybody does. That's why they buy. Step back, relax, and understand that these interviews go on every day. You are buying on EMOTION, not critical thinking. The fact that you are researching this purchase means you are doubting the idea. If your parents don't own a timeshare, what makes you think you should? They could buy one and let you use it. You have so many things to do in the next few years, that this purchase will just be cumbersome. Start researching on Tug, and learn from intelligent and satisfied owners. You can go back next week, next month, or next year, and get the same deal.
 

Crocoguy

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Wow, it took only one reply here to get better advice than a full thread of comments on reddit haha. Thank you! I was torn because every bit of critique on this that I got was just a general "timeshares are awful" response. But my research into Vidanta and the terms they offered made it seem like that was beyond a simplification.

But now that I've got confirmation this isn't some once-in-a-lifetime offer that came about because of my unique financing situation, then I'll pass on it for now. Thanks so much!

On that note, any timeshares that you recommend for somebody in my position?

And out of curiousity: all that I was offered seems like a pretty great deal, what would a perfect deal with Vidanta look like?
 

bogey21

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My advice is make sure you don't show up at all tomorrow. If you do only to tell them "No", it will just give them one more shot at convincing you to sign...

George
 

pittle

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As Eric said - think long & hard before you sign anything. I have been a Vidanta owner at several levels with many weeks in the past 20 years and invested a lot of money with them. Our family has taken numerous vacations and loved them. BUT, This is NOT a good deal for you. You are too young, you do not have a regular income (where are you going to get the $8000?), the exchanges will not work like you think they will - you must plan 12-18 months in advance for the destinations you mentioned. Also, you have to pay a MF in order to deposit with SFX and will need to pay them a fee for an exchange and higher for the Bonus Extra Vacations weeks they "give" you. You will not get any money back from Vidanta.

My advice is since you did not sign anything or give them any money to unplug the phones in your unit and enjoy the rest of your vacation.

Check VRBO - with them you pay nothing upfront until you book a week wherever you want to go. With this program, you pay $8000 and may or may not get to use it and when you do, you will be paying whatever the MF is. Keep that money to finish school. There will be other opportunities in the future.

Glad you found TUB. :) It is the best!
 

pittle

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I just checked SFX - they do not have any properties listed for Central and South America that you can exchange into listed on their website. RCI does have some - less than 100 for all of Central and South America compared to 686 in Mexico. So, do not buy with the thought that you are going to exchange into another resort in Central or South America. It gets even more difficult when you need consecutive weeks. I have been doing exchanges since 1991 and it takes takes a lot of long range planning to get specific locations - often 1-2 years. Just keep that in mind if you are buying for the exchange reason.
 

silentg

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Don’t sign. Join TUG. Read posts for Newbes, Gather info, so that when you do eventually buy a timeshare you will be a bit more Knowlegable and get a good place.
You may want to rent before buying. Good Luck!
Silentg
 

Passepartout

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Do not buy ANYTHING now! No timeshare, no 'trial' package, no nothing. What they want you to buy would have zero value the second you sign the contract. Mexican timeshares are very nice, but you can rent them very easily with no commitment.

This is NOT the time of your life for this expense.

Enjoy your vacation, but I'm afraid the salesweasels will make that difficult.

Jim
 

Zinjanthropus

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Just checking to find out what happened. Did you buy? Did you return to the meeting? Which Vidanta resort were you visiting?
For the record, I agree with all who posted here.
These Vidanta resorts are intoxicating and they make you want to never leave. Think about it like this...You will always be able to rent and come back here. But wait till you're fully informed and have done the research before you even think about purchasing. The "no Maintenance fee" hook is very attractive, but you can rent next year and the year after and still pay no maint fee WITHOUT having to pay the monthly bill for the purchase.

Here's my unsolicited, opinion; If you're not set in your career, and are not married, and plan on being a wander lust for awhile, I'd stay free of long term luxury commitments.

My nephew just turned down a good job that starts out paying low and involves lots of training, but in a year or so would be a very well paying gig... He has the commitment of a new car note and apartment lease which make him think he needs to keep his current, lesser job, rather than live on the cheap for a year or two in order to make that leap to the better career.

I know everyone has their own situations and plans, and everyone is different, but you have plenty of time to make that same deal or a better one. Stick around here, read these posts, then you can always jump in with your eyes wide open.

If you ended up buying anyway, it's not the end of the world, but by all means read this message board to find out how you can maximize your purchase.
 
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